US eases Covid warnings against travel to France and EU
France is a destination for Americans again, as it opens its borders to vaccinated travellers with negative Covid tests, and as the United States eases its warnings against travel to the European Union. The US continues to ban entry to visitors from the Schengen zone and several other countries, to limit the spread of Covid.
The US State Department on Tuesday lowered its warnings against travel to 85 countries, following updated recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that now urge Americans to travel only if they are fully-vaccinated, and encourage non-vaccinated people to stay home.
France, which on Wednesday opened its borders to fully vaccinated US travellers with negative Covid tests, has been lowered from the CDC’s ‘Level 4’ warning, which discourages all travel, to ‘Level 3’, which recommends travel for people who are fully vaccinated.
The State Department has also lowered its assessment of France, from advising not to go at all to encouraging travellers to "reconsider travel" because of Covid.
The State Department decisions are being closely watched for clues as to when the US will end a ban, imposed last year by former president Donald Trump, on most visitors from the EU and Britain.
Asked why the US is keeping the restrictions in place, even though some countries on the list currently have low infection rates, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said on Tuesday the issue was subject to "an interagency conversation, and we are looking at the data in real time as to how we should move forward with that."
Thierry Breton, the European commissioner for the internal market, said Monday that the EU wanted to open up to vaccinated Americans, but he insisted on "reciprocity."
The decision to ease warnings against travel to Europe comes as Joe Biden's embarks on his first trip to the continent as president,
"We have heard very clearly the desire of our friends in Europe and in the UK to be able to reopen travel across the Atlantic Ocean, and we want to see that happen," national security advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters Monday, adding that any easing of travel will be "guided by science and evidence."
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